How do people work with .doc and .xls files?

Using DTPO 2, I have imported all my text/searchable data into a few databases. I am hopeful to leave behind the Finder for all but graphics and video files and the like.

I am having a bit of difficulty figuring out how to work with .doc and .xls files, and am hopeful that I am just missing a simple detail.

I have iWork, but no Microsoft Office product. And prefer to keep it that way. When I open a .pages or .numbers document in DT, I can edit and save changes, and the changes show up immediately in the document within DT.

However, if I wish to save the file as .doc or .xls, for example to share with the Windows world, I have to save to the Global inbox or to finder and then reimport. This creates a couple of unnecessary steps in reuniting the document with its original in . pages or .numbers.

Is there a different method of working with .doc or .xls documents, or of saving .pages or .numbers documents in these formats?

Do I need to buy MS Office (oh please oh please oh please say no…)?

Thanks, and Cheers!

What you are encountering is not a .doc or .xls issue as much as it is an issue with creating a new document outside of DTPO and wanting to save it into DTPO without directly importing the document. You would have the same challenge if you were trying to save the Pages document as RTF. Documents must be imported into DT in order for the document to be recognized and organized in the database. You can edit existing documents in the database because DT already knows about the document and has pointers to the document within the internal folder structure of the database. Even if you had Microsoft Office, your newly exported documents from iWork would still need to be imported (not saved) into your database.

Thanks, Greg.

I tried your method. However, I am seeing the same issue:

  1. When I import a .doc document into DT, then try to open it with the external application (Pages, in this case). When I try to close that .doc file, it has to be saved to the Global inbox.

  2. When I create a ‘New from Template’ Word document from within DT, then try to add text and save it. Same thing-I have to save to Global inbox.

  3. Also, if I have the same document in .pages and .doc format within DT, if I double-click on each, the .pages document opens in Pages, while the .doc document just opens in a new, non-editable DT window.

Am I missing something in this workflow?


It’s been a long time since I used Pages, but isn’t Pages asking you where to save the document whenever you save the changes to a .doc file? Or putting it another way, you cannot open a .doc file in pages, make changes, and then type Command-S to save changes without Pages asking where to save the document, can you?

Same as #1 above, if I recall correctly (and I certainly could be mistaken), Pages does not save the document-it exports the document when saved. Or asking the question another way, what does Pages do when you open a .doc file, make changes, and then type Command-S?

I believe this is because Pages documents are still considered an unknown file package, even though Pages documents can be viewed in DTP. Double-clicking on an unknown file package opens the document in the original application, while double-clicking on a know file package (.doc as one example) opens the document in DT. In other words, when I double-click on my Word documents they open in a DTPO window also.

Thanks for the response, Greg.

Yes, when I ‘Save’ a document in Pages, in the .doc format, it asks me where to save it. So I select the Global inbox, which then requires a move to a different database. In Finder, I can use Default Folder X and simply save to the same folder I got the original. Obviously, this is a simpler workflow, and I would love to be able to replicate it in DT.

I do believe you are correct, that Pages ‘Saves’ a .doc file by exporting it, although this may have been in the '08 version. I would have to explore further to see if it is still happening in the '09 version.After a bit of Googling, I believe the '09 version still exports, rather than saves.

However, if I open the correlating .pages file, and make changes, the changes are saved to the document within DT. Great! That is the workflow I like.

Also, I did not make myself clear regarding the double-click behavior: When I DC on the .pages file, it opens in Pages, which is fine with me, and when I close or save, the changes are reflected in the .pages file within DT. I don’t have to move the new, saved file.

However, with a .doc file, it opens in a DT window, but is not editable. Useless to me. I need to select ‘Open with External App’ on my toolbar, which opens Pages, and then I am back in the same bad loop, where saving it forces me to hunt down the changed file and move it back to the folder I started from.

This behavior also occurs when I create a new .doc file via DT templates. If I make a change to that file, that was created within DT, I have to save to the Global inbox and move it back to the spot it started. Even the Finder is better than that, when you open and edit a file.

As a side question, are you using MS Office? Perhaps that is the difference…


Yes, I am using Office '08. However, I cannot edit .doc files directly in DTPO either. I can click on the ‘Text View/Preview’ button in the Navigation bar to copy text in the document, but I still need to open it with Word to actually edit the document. Once I open the .doc in Word, I can make changes and save the document and the changes are reflected in DTPO.

I don’t know how big of an issue this is for you, but you might also want to download Bean (free) and give it a try. It edits .doc and docx files without exporting and saved changes will be immediately updated in DTPO. Don’t know what to suggest about .xls files.

You might also want to look at this thread. In particular, look a the link about 10 posts in that philosopher_dog provided about modifying Pages to save .doc files without exporting them. Might be another solution for you.


This all gets verrrrry interesting…

I followed through with your suggestion on the plist editing for Pages, and for Numbers. After a bit of fiddling (updates on these two have led to a change in the items on the plist to edit), I got the .doc and .xls files to open in Pages and Numbers, respectively, then when I changed and closed them…voila! The files in DTPO are instantly updated.

Great so far, right?

Now, when I create a .doc file or .xls file (or use an imported/downloaded .doc or .xls file), and try to save it as a .pages or .numbers file, the resulting file is not readable. :frowning:

I guess I can’t have it all, at least right now.

I suppose that it would be rare for me to convert one of these MS formats to an iWork format, so I might just live with that. I can say that it is a welcome change to edit a .doc file and close it, and have DTP update immediately.

So thanks again. I will use it like this for a while, and follow up if there is anything I can add. And if someone else using Pages wants some details on how to edit their plist, please let me know!